The Grand Mosque Siege at Mecca by Juhayman al-Utaybi is one of bleak page in Islamic History. The Utaybi group claimed the overthrow of Al-Saud family and attacked the grand mosque at Mecca in 1979. The leader of the group Muhammad Abdullah al-Qahtani was claimed as the last imam—Imam Mehdi, and Muslims throughout world were urged to support him. The insurgent took the grand Mosque at Mecca and were using the public address system of the mosque for propagation. The event lasted for approximately two weeks and after the approval of religious clerics Saudi forces along with French and Pakistani commandos retook the Mosque. So have the idea about Grand Mosque Seizure Battle.
Below is an overview of the role played by Pakistan in the Grand mosque seizure:
- Between 26 November to 3 December 1979 a revolt by the Shiite Muslim minority in the oil-rich Al-Hasa province of Saudi Arabia, known as the 1979 Qatif Uprising, took place, after the attack of on grand Mosque.
- With religious approval granted, Saudi forces launched frontal assaults on three of the main gates.
- The assaulting force was repulsed, and were failed even to break the insurgents defense.
- An elite unit called “Rahbar” of the SSG, the commando battalion of the Pakistan Army, headed by Major Pervez Musharraf now a Retired General of Pakistan Army and Ex-President of Pakistan, was mobilized.
Role of Pakistan In Grand Mosque Seizure Battle
- The SSG commandos in leadership of Pervez Musharraf rushed to Mecca from Pakistan on Saudi Government’s request
- In the middle of the day, Saudi troops abseiled from helicopters directly into the central courtyard of the mosque but unfortunately the Saudi soldiers were picked off by insurgents holding superior positions.
- After failure of this exercise, Pakistani SSG Commandos split/showered the water allover the Grand Masjid floors even in Minarets.
- This tactic befuddled the insurgents that what would happen next.
- Then SSG commandos passed electric current to the water and the insurgents were compelled to halt their activities and were changing their positions to save their lives.
- During this Pak Army Commandos were dropped by helicopters into the Grand Masjid in different locations and they easily captured many of the insurgents alive.
- On 25 November, the Arab Socialist Action Party; Arabian Peninsula issued a statement from Beirut alleging to clarify the demands of the insurgents. The party, however, denied any involvement of its own in the seizure.
- The battle had lasted more than two weeks, and had officially left “255 pilgrims, troops and fanatics” killed and “another 560 injured … although diplomats suggested the toll was higher.
- Military casualties were 127 dead and 451 injured during the battle.
- In Short Pakistani commandos played an instrumental role and proved their mettle in retaking the Grand Mosque from insurgents.